If you had a stroke on the left side of the brain, here’s what you must know:
Left Hemisphere Strokes
First off, every stroke is different, therefore every stroke recovery will be different.
When it comes to a left sided stroke, however, there are some patterns that you should be aware of.
Below, we describe 5 of them.
1. The Opposite Side of Your Body Will Be Affected
Your brain is divided into two hemispheres, with each half controlling the opposite side of your body. Therefore, a stroke in your left hemisphere will impair your ability to control the right side of your body.
In order to regain movement in your affected side, you need to participate in physical therapy by practicing exercises for stroke patients.
Rehab exercises are crucial for recovery from stroke because they start to rebuild and strengthen the neural pathways in your brain that control movement.
This occurs through neuroplasticity, which is the mechanism that your brain uses to rewire itself.
Each time you repeat a rehab exercise, you strengthen specific neural pathways in your brain that control that movement. The more you practice, the stronger those new pathways will become.
Repeating your rehab exercises (or other therapeutic movements) over and over and over will help you regain movement in the right side of your body.
2. You May Have More Issues with Thinking Analytically
Each hemisphere of your brain controls very different functions. Therefore, a stroke is one area of the brain will result in different side effects.
Generally, a right side stroke will affect creativity and emotion, and a left side stroke will affect logic. Specifically, a stroke in the left side of the brain can affect:
- Critical thinking
- Thinking in words
A left brain stroke can affect any of these areas. From what we have heard, left side stroke often affects your ability to think critically, speak, and write.
The best way to regain your abilities is to practice them. Practice will help rewire your brain and ingrain new neural pathways into your brain’s circuitry.
If you’re struggling with speaking, then work with a speech-language pathologist who can give you language homework to practice at home (like tongue exercises, for example).
Or if you’re struggling with critical thinking, then spend time practicing puzzles that challenge your critical thinking skills.
Whatever it is that you’re trying to work on, practice and repetition are the #1 best treatment options for recovering lost abilities after stroke.
3. Your Side Effects Will Vary from Other Left Side Stroke Survivors
Although each side of the brain is responsible for certain tasks, it’s important to understand that the brain works together as a whole. The right hemisphere contributes to left-brain functions and vice versa.
For example, although language is controlled by the language center in your left brain, your right hemisphere also contributes to some aspects of language.
Therefore, there is no cookie-cutter formula for recovering from left side stroke vs right side stroke. Your stroke side effects will vary from other patients – even those who also suffered left-brain strokes.
It’s important not to compare your recovery to anyone else’s. Instead, focus on the next step in your unique journey.
4. You Might Have Language Difficulties
The left side of your brain controls language. When your language center becomes damaged by stroke, it can impair language-related abilities such as:
- Talking and listening
- Reading and writing
- Understanding speech and thinking of the right words
In order to recover from aphasia, you should practice speech therapy exercises. This will help rewire the brain and improve your language after a left sided stroke.
5. You Might Have Issues with Swallowing
The left hemisphere of the brain controls language as well as all other oral functions, like swallowing. After a left sided stroke, some patients are required be on a feeding tube for various amounts of time. This is because the left hemisphere stroke damaged their ability to chew and/or swallow.
Just like language can be relearned, the ability to swallow can also be relearned. Speech therapy exercises can help with this. But in this case, it’s also recommended to work with a speech-language pathologist who specializes in helping stroke patients recover.
Have any questions? Leave them for us in the comments below!